The Two-Handed Backhand is Good for Beginners

Jul 29, 2013 by

Although you can hit a backhanded shot in tennis with one hand, some professionals and high-level amateurs prefer to use two hands as it feels more comfortable. Although the one-handed and two-handed backhand strokes look different to each other, the mechanics of both are similar in nature.

Basha Tennis Video: How to Perform the backhand Shot in Tennis

The one-handed backhand shot is for players that enjoy variety and risk and have a penchant for creative shots. It is really only a stroke for skilled players with reasonable arm strength. The two-handed stroke is better when it comes to consistency and stamina, plus it is the ideal choice for beginners who have yet to develop the coordination or forearm strength to accurately play the one-hand version.

Advantages of the Two-Handed Backhand

Backhanded shots, one or two-handed, are important defensive tools in tennis.

Backhanded shots, one or two-handed, are important defensive tools in tennis.

As we mentioned above, using two hands for the backhand stroke carries plenty of advantages for beginners including:

  • Power – You simply can’t develop any real power using just one hand without years of practice and an increase in strength. Hold the racket in one hand using a backhand grip and swing it. Be confident, as the tennis ball is coming toward you at over 100 miles per hour. Two hands are steadier and allow for greater control of shots.
  • Practicality – A two-handed backhand enables you to prepare quickly and in tennis, a fraction of a second makes all the difference. With quick rotation into the ball and a short backswing, you can return the ball with interest.
  • Consistency – The extra strength you have using two hands allows you to remain stable and follow through on each shot. This allows for a certain level of consistency, as you can hit the same kind of shot over and over again.

If you are a player with excellent conditioning, the two-handed backhand is a great weapon. The reliability and ease of the stroke means you can engage in long baseline rallies and also force your opponents into making mistakes.


Of course it is not the ‘perfect’ stroke, otherwise every player would only approach their shots with the backhand! Here are some disadvantages:

  • Rigid – It is very hard to hit an accurate shot on the move with a two-handed grip. While it is okay for baseline rallies, it is less effective when trying to return shots hit out wide.
  • Reach – Your range is significantly reduced so if shots are hit low and away from your backhand, retrieving in this situation is difficult.
  • Volleys – It is not the best option for ‘serve and volley’ players. Legends such as Pete Sampras and John McEnroe who had great volleying skills used the one-handed backhand.
  • Lack of Variation – The two-handed backhand is a basic shot, so you should avoid trying anything fancy or innovative. For example, sliced backhands are almost always played using a single hand.

At Basha Tennis, we recommend that beginners focus on the two-handed backhand when practicing, just to get used to the feel and pace of a game. Learning how to consistently hit quality shots will enhance your enjoyment and once you develop, you can always switch to the one-handed stroke.

Image license:
Young woman playing tennis – Shutterstock (view source)

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